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Mental conditions can increase women's risks for work injuries

It's no surprise that personal stresses from home and family life and affect one's performance on the job. Now there is evidence that a person's mental state can increase the likelihood of a work injury. That's especially the case for women, as documented in a recent study published by the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work and Environment.

The study found that anxiety, depression, fatigue and lack of sleep affect women's work injury rates significantly more than those same conditions affect men's work injury rates. Researchers analyzed more than 17,000 workers' compensation claims in different industries at Pinnacol Assurance. The numbers showed that nearly 60 percent of women who were injured on the job were suffering from a mental health condition, compared to 33 percent of injured male workers.

Why the disparity between women and men?

The study did not probe deeply into the reasons for the disparity between female and male workers. However, Dr. Natalie Schwatka, the study's lead author said that cultural differences may be the reason. She speculated that men are less likely to report or admit to behavioral health problems and that women face different types of stresses in their personal lives than do men.

Workers who have suffered physical on-the-job injuries may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, regardless of whether a personal mental health condition resulted in the injury. In cases where a mental health condition is found to be job-related, workers' compensation benefits may also be available to treat the mental health problem as well as the physical injury. Speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney if you have questions about a claim.

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